No two Cape Town English language schools are the same, nor will every school necessarily meet your unique preferences, learning style and expectations. Here are some of the most important factors to consider when choosing where to register:
The cheapest (or most expensive) school won’t always offer the best value. Some schools run class for a full 60 minutes, while others’ are only 45 minutes. Some schools include Wi-Fi, newcomer orientations, field trips and cultural experiences in their fees, which can make it worth the added cost.
If you want to study at a reputable and established language school, find out if it’s approved by EduSA, the national association of English language centres. Any school can make bold claims on its website, so looking for EduSA’s assurance of quality may give you peace of mind.
Is the school an exciting, fun place to meet new friends and interact with approachable teachers? Does it offer friendly service and clean, welcoming facilities? The vibe of a school and its staff can make or break your experience. Visit the school’s website and Skype with staff, if you can, to get a feel of what to expect.
Don’t confine yourself to an English school in the centre of Cape Town if you know you’d be far happier by the beach. Likewise, don’t choose a school an hour from the heart of Cape Town if you know you’ll want to hit the town after class.
Remember too that where you live and study may affect the cost of your trip, so be sure to research transport, food and accommodation costs in the area before you make a decision.
Will your school let you travel? And what happens if you don’t like your classes, teachers or school and want to make a change? How strict is the school on attendance, being late, doing homework and writing exams? These are all questions to ask if you prefer a relaxed atmosphere.
Learning English often happens outside the classroom. Some schools have partnerships with local organisations and charities such as orphanages, homeless shelters and animal sanctuaries where you can help a good cause and practice your English conversation skills at the same time…if that’s your sort of thing.
It’s always nice to have a safety net when you move to a foreign city. Some of the best language schools in Cape Town are those with staff to help you settle in, navigate town and feel as if you’re part of the community. Bottom line: don’t pick a school that takes weeks to answer an email — you’re unlikely to get the support you need.
Don’t always rely on student reviews from an English school’s official website — they won’t post the negative ones. A quick Google search of the school’s name and student reviews should reveal whether or not learners enjoyed their experience with the school.